You’re probably considering handling the claims process on your own, with the belief your insurance company will come through for you after years of being a loyal, bill-paying policyholder. Unfortunately, insurance companies are in the business of making money—and paying out big settlements isn’t part of their business plan.
If you’re going to handle your claim without the help of an attorney, you need to know the risks you face. To get an idea of what you’re up against, we suggest reading up on common insurance company practices used to keep you from getting a fair settlement.
DIY Insurance Claim Tips:
Be Careful What You Say.
Your phone call with the claims adjuster will probably be recorded, and any misstatement—however innocent—can be used by the insurance company to dispute your claim, or deny it completely. If you’re not prepared for the call, tell the claims adjuster you’re not able to talk right now and ask for a callback number. Never admit to being even partially at fault for the accident.
Document all Your Contacts with Partners Mutual.
After every phone call with the insurance company, follow up with a short email or letter reiterating what steps they told you they’d be taking to resolve your claim. If they later try to backtrack on any promises they made, or accuse you of not being timely in following through with your claim, you’ll have a paper trail to show otherwise.
It's You Against Them…A Lot of Them.
You might think you’re only dealing with the claims adjuster you’ve spoken with and emailed, but there’s an army of managers and attorneys above the claims adjuster. If you’re not making any progress with your contact, you can ask to speak to another adjuster or a manager. Ultimately, though, you’re never going to get the one person with the authority to make a decision.
If it seems like it’s taking forever to get your claim settled, that’s part of the plan.
Delaying claims past the statute of limitations is a common tactic insurance companies use to shut you out of taking legal action. In Wisconsin, the statute of limitations for filing suit against an insurance company is 3 years. This might seem like a long time, but you’d be amazed how insurance companies can drag their feet on claims. Once your case hits the 3-year mark, you’re stuck with whatever lowball settlement offer they make.